Pak hosts most expensive cabinet meeting while observing austerity

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Islamabad, Jan 1 (ANI): Pakistan hosted its most expensive federal cabinet meeting when a Navy ship was anchored near Gwadar Port which is estimated to have cost the taxpayers over Rs.5 million, after the PPP-led Government decided to follow austerity measures.

It was held just 10 days after the government had approved austerity measures to reduce its expenditure.

"This indicates how seriously Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and members of his cabinet take their own decisions and how they are going to give up their elitist lifestyle," said a senior official of the Ministry of Finance.

He said the ministry did not know exactly how much had been spent on the cabinet meeting because provincial governments, federal ministries and departments used their own resources for travelling, lodging, boarding and other expenses.

The Dawn quoted him as saying that according to a safe estimate the meeting must have cost the national exchequer more than Rs.5 million in just two days.

About 200 government leaders and officials, including the prime minister and his entourage, federal and provincial ministers and chief ministers and their secretaries and supporting staff, travelled by air from the four provincial capitals and Islamabad to attend the meeting. ther officials suggest that the expenditure on the joyride was even higher.

The sources said that Gilani had flown from the federal capital one day ahead of the meeting on a special C-130 plane, along with more than 80 officials and about two dozen media personnel.

It was for the first time that Gwadar Pearl Continental Hotel had hosted such a large number of guests since its completion a few years ago. The only five-star hotel in Gwadar has 94 rooms all of which had been booked for the prime minister's entourage.

Six-course meals were served to guests staying at the hotel and in navy residences, government rest houses and other hotels around the port. (ANI)

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